Work on the Rani Jhansi grade separator flyover project, already delayed for two decades, has started again, but the flyover is still nowhere near completion, having missed another deadline in January this year. The flyover is supposed to connect St Stephen’s Hospital to Filmistan in north Delhi via Azad Market. Due to the enormous delay, the cost of the project has also escalated substantially from Rs 70 crore in 1998 to Rs 450 crore now.
The flyover project was started in 1998 and since then has seen many deadlines come and go, resulting in delay in the project for two decades. Once completed, the flyover is expected to improve traffic in the area, particularly around ISBT Kashmere Gate, Mori Gate, Shakti Nagar, Karol Bagh, Gulabi Bagh, Kamla Nagar, Sadar Bazar, Paharganj, and Azad Market.
The North Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), which had taken over the responsibility for the completion of the flyover after the trifurcation of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD), had started working on the project in 2011, but has missed many deadlines. It now claims that 70% work has been completed and the flyover would soon be opened to the public.
Sunil Kumar, a shopkeeper near the Filmistan area, said that the flyover was due to open in 2010 and now finally work has resumed in fits and starts.
Earth movers and material for construction can be seen at the site of construction. He also added that workers can now be seen at the site, but the pace of work is not satisfactory.
Another worker in the same area said that the new deadline for completion of the project is October 2017. The main reason for the huge delay in the project is due to the change of governments over time, he said. There were also conflicts over land acquisition for the flyover project.
People in the area are also troubled by traffic jams that are a common sight in the area. Piled up construction material, broken roads with numerous potholes, and monsoon rains have made commuting a real headache for people in the area wanting to make their way across the busy Azad Market and Delhi University.
An official in the NDMC told The Sunday Guardian that land acquisition was a major issue in the construction of the project, since it required relocating many residential areas, places of worship and Jal Board water lines. However, he assured this newspaper that such problems have been sorted out and work would be completed soon.
A few months ago, the Centre had also sanctioned some Rs 85 crore to expedite the project, as it is a crucial project that can improve connectivity between Pusa Road and north Delhi.